Is heaven real? What do we know about it? How do we know it exists? This encouraging lesson will remind you that this world is not our home.

ROBERT >> When I was just a boy, I was amazed with space travel and rockets. I used to come home from school and watch Lost In Space, and then later the episodes of Star Trek. It seemed impossible to me that someone could have landed on the moon, and I know that many an astronaut today would like to be the first to land on the planet Mars. What if you could go beyond this world, out of this world, into heaven itself? Stay tuned. We’ll be back in just a moment.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth,
speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> As we begin to consider the idea of going outside of this world into heaven itself, let’s ask a question this morning: How real is heaven?

I want you to notice that the Bible speaks of more than one heaven. It actually speaks of three heavens. Look back with me, if you will, in the book of Genesis when God created this universe.

In Genesis 1:20 the Bible says, “Then God said, Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.”

The first heaven, our atmosphere, the sky where the birds fly is what the Bible speaks of in Genesis 1:20. Jesus spoke of the birds of the air in Matthew 6:26, and James 5:18 mentions how the heavens gave rain. They were all talking about the first heaven, our sky, our atmosphere around the planet earth. But the Bible also speaks of a second heaven: Outer space.

Look at Genesis chapter 1 again, in verses 14 through 19. Here the Bible says, “Then God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.”

So here we read about that second heaven beyond the sky, our atmosphere around the earth, into outer space, where God set the sun and the moon and the stars. Hebrews 11:12 speaks of the stars of the sky. And so we see the first heaven where the birds fly, our atmosphere; the second heaven, outer space, where we find the sun and the moon and the stars; but there’s also a third heaven.

Look with me in 2 Corinthians 12:2, where the apostle Paul speaks of one who ascends into the third heaven. And I believe he’s talking about himself. But I want you to notice how he describes this for us here. 2 Corinthians 12:2, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago – whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows – such a one was caught up into the third heaven.”

Here you see he went beyond the first heaven, beyond the second heaven, into the third heaven. Outside of this universe, outside of this world, beyond this world. 1 Kings 8:27 talks about the heaven of heavens, and Ephesians 4:10 talks about Christ who ascended far above all heavens; in Hebrews 1:3, how that Jesus Christ sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high.

So it’s this third heaven that we want to focus on today and in the lessons ahead. We can see the first two heavens, and we know they exist; but what about the third heaven? Is it just a fairy tale that we have made up to make us feel better, or can we really know there is a heaven beyond this world?

Let’s notice today first of all that it’s as real as God. If we know there’s a God, then we can know there is a heaven.

Where else is God going to live?

Where did God live before this world was created?

And where is he going to live after this world is destroyed?

There is a God.

In Genesis 1:1, you open your Bibles to that very first verse, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

He was already there in existence.

Look with me in Psalm 19:1, where the Psalmist looks up into the sky, and this is what he writes: The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. As you look and you see this universe about you, the only reasonable, logical explanation is that there is a God, that there is a supreme being that’s powerful, that’s always been here, that eternal one who brought this world into existence.

The apostle Paul made this very argument in Romans 1:20 when he reminded us of God’s existence there. Here’s what he says: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

There’s no reason why anyone should not understand and know there is a God.

Hebrews 3:4 gives us a good principle that will help us to understand what Paul was talking about in Romans 1. Here’s what the Hebrew writer says: “For every house is built by someone; but He who built all things is God.”

We understand when we go down the road and we see a house, we understand that somebody built it. Somebody had to design it and construct it. That house is evidence of an architect, of a designer, of a constructor. And as we look at this universe about us, when we look at all things, we recognize that they must have been made by someone, some eternal, divine, powerful being. Design demands a designer. And folks, heaven is where that designer lives. It’s where God lives. It’s his throne. His throne is in heaven. Where God is, there is heaven.

So how real is heaven?

It’s just as real as God. But let’s also notice that it’s just as real as Jesus Christ. If we know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, then we can know there is a heaven.

Where else could Jesus have come from?

And after his resurrection, where else could he have ascended, but into heaven?

Understand that Jesus Christ, like God our Father, already existed before the world was. He was with God and he was God.

Look at John 1:1. As you open this great gospel of the Lord and savior Jesus Christ, he begins by telling us about the eternal nature of this one.

John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

You see, in the beginning was the Word. It was already there. He, the Word, that logos, that one who is the very expression and image of God, he was there already in the beginning. And he was with God, and he was God. Now, I’ve never seen heaven; but Jesus has. And he descended from heaven to the earth. And after his death and resurrection, he ascended back into heaven. And he’s coming again to bring us home to heaven.

I want you to notice how he described this to his apostles in John 14:1-3. Here he says, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Jesus Christ did not come from this world. He came from out of this world. But then I also want to remind us of this: Heaven is just as real as God, just as real as Jesus Christ, but it is also just as real as the Bible you hold in your hand. If we know the Bible is the word of God, then we can know there is a heaven.

And where else could this Bible have come from?

Notice what the Bible says about itself in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Here we learn from the apostle Paul, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Yes, the Bible claims to be the inspired word of God; that is, it came from his mouth. It’s God-breathed, literally. It’s God’s book. God has delivered this and preserved this for us today. The book itself is evidence of this divine being, God. Consider the amazing unity of the Bible. If you think about this Bible, it’s actually a library of books, some 66 books, books that were written over a period of some 1400, 1500 years. This library of books written by many different men, some 40 different men, and they all had different backgrounds. They spoke different languages, they were raised in different cultures. And yet you put all of these writings together, and you see this harmonious whole. You see from the beginning of the Bible to the end of the Bible this one theme running all the way through it, that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world. In the Old Testament, how Jesus is coming, and in New Testament, how he has come and he is coming back again. This amazing unity could only be explained by the fact that each of these writers were guided by one great mind, God. God was able through these writers to reveal all things from the beginning to the end that he wanted for us to have, his will for our life. And all of that’s been preserved for us in this book.

Consider the amazing scientific foreknowledge of the Bible. In Genesis 1:1 where we just read earlier, and we’ll read it again here, we’ll notice how everything had its beginning. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

There we see that our world did have a beginning. It has not always been here. Something that it took hundreds and hundreds of years for scientists to discover, but now they agree, yes, just as the Bible said long ago, it had a beginning.

Job 26:7 says that the earth hangs upon nothing. It talks about how God hangs the earth on nothing. What better description could we with find of how the Earth, that planet, is just suspended in space, how unlike the many ideas of the day that it was supported by some firm, stable pillars or some kind of structure. No, it hangs on nothing.

Isaiah 40:22 speaks of the circle of the earth. While man believed for many years it was a flat earth, the Bible writers always recognized that it was a globe, the circle of the earth. And consider the fulfilled prophecy of the Bible. You know, the Bible has many prophecies in the Old Testament which are fulfilled, have been fulfilled in history and continue to be fulfilled in Christ and his church; but particularly amazing are the many prophecies concerning Jesus the Christ, the Messiah who was to come, about where he would be born, about how he would be born, of whom he would be born, about how he would live his life, the miracles he would perform, the parables that he would teach, how that he would die, suffer an awful death upon the cross, his hands and his feet being nailed, how that he would be raised again the third day, ascend on high to sit at God’s right hand to establish his kingdom on the earth, his church. All of this, his entire life, spelled out in the scriptures hundreds of years before he was ever born, again, evidence of a divine mind guiding the writings of each one of the writers of the Bible. Oh, the Bible is so powerful in its effect on all those who will believe it, who will follow it. We cannot argue with the many lives who’ve been rescued from sin and wonderfully changed forever. All of these things are evidence of the fact that there is a God, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that the Bible is the word of God. Folks, the Bible did not come from this world. It came from out of this world. Heaven is real. It’s just as real as God, it’s just as real as Jesus Christ, it’s just as real as the Bible, and it’s just as real as death. If we know death is real, and we all must accept that reality, then we can know heaven is real.

We only have to ask, what happens to the spirit when it can no longer live in this body?

We know how the body returns to the earth. We observe that when somebody dies. But the spirit returns to God who gave it. This is what is written in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 12:7. Here we see the wise man, Solomon, speak of what happens when somebody dies. Here is how he put it: “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”

You see, man is more than just flesh and blood. In fact, we only have to go back to Genesis chapter 2, where we read about the creation of the very first man, Adam.

And look what it says in Genesis 2:7. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. God breathed life into the dust from which man was made.”

This body, apart from the spirit, is dead.

James 2:26 tells us explicitly that when the spirit leaves this body, the body apart from the spirit is dead. That’s physical death. But understand the spirit lives on. And there are so many passages that speak of this.

For example, in Job, one of the oldest books of the Bible, if not the oldest, in Job chapter 14, and look with me in verse 14. Here the Bible says, “If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes.”

Even this one recognized there was something beyond this life.

And you look a little further in Job 19, look at verse 25 and 26. “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.”

In the New Testament, John 11:25-26, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he said on that occasion, I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes on Me, though he die, yet shall he live again.

Indeed, it’s appointed unto man once to die, Hebrews 9:27, but after this the judgment. The spirit of man cannot remain in this world, but goes out of this world.

But finally, let me say that heaven is just as real as hell. If we know there’s a hell for the devil and his angels and all those who would follow him, just as surely there is a heaven for God and his angels and all those who would follow him.

Where else could they go but to be with God in heaven?

And we know hell is as real as the devil, it’s as real as sin, it’s as real as the cross of Jesus, where our sins were paid for. Jesus didn’t die just so we could escape the condemnation of hell; but he was raised up to give us the assurance of eternal life in heaven with God.

1 Peter 1:3-5 reminds us how we’ve been begotten again unto a living hope, reserved in heaven for you. It’ll be out of this world. Undefiled, incorruptible, Peter said.

One Sunday morning in a children’s Bible class the teacher asked her students, How many of you want to go to heaven? And they all raised their hands except one little boy. And she asked him, Why didn’t you raise your hand?

Don’t you want to go to heaven? He said, Oh, yes, but I thought you were getting a bus load to go right now.

Well, now that I’m grown, and especially as I grow older, I have no desire to ever take a rocket into space, but I can hardly wait to go home to be with my God in heaven. How about you? You know heaven is as real as God. It’s as real as Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It’s as real as this Bible I have here in my hand today. It’s as real as the word of God. It’s as real as death and hell. And God has done everything so that you do not have to miss out on it. Won’t you trust in him for that today and let us know how we can help you towards heaven?

SINGING>> All hail the power of Jesus’ name,
let angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem
and crown him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem
and crown him Lord of all.
Oh, that with yonder sacred throng
we at his feet may fall.
We’ll join the everlasting song
and crown him Lord of all.
We’ll join the everlasting song
and crown him Lord of all.

SINGING>> We place you on the highest place,
for you are the great high priest.
We place you high above all else,
all else, and we come to you and worship at your feet.
We place you on the highest place,
for you are the great high priest.
We place you high above all else, all else,
and we come to you and worship at your feet.
And we come to you and worship at your feet.

ROBERT >> Thank you so much for watching our program today. We’re interested in your soul. We want you to join us in heaven for all of eternity. I hope that if you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and your savior today, that you’ll come to faith in him, that you’ll make that decision to turn away from your sins, that you’ll confess your faith in him as the Christ, the Son of God, and give yourself wholly and completely to him in the waters of baptism, that you might be raised up to walk in newness of life. The Bible says, Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. You can do that today.

We want to hear from you. We want to hear about your decision. We want to help you to be obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let me encourage you to contact us if you have any questions, comments, or requests at TTIL, The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.

And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

All our materials, our services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know if we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

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